If you are running out of warehousing space, what are the options to increase space quickly and cost-effectively, without investing in a new permanent warehouse building? Read more to find out what areas to review and where improvements can be made.

What do you do if warehousing space is getting tight?

If warehouse space is getting tight the option to quickly invest in an additional warehouse building is not really viable for businesses now. The erratic economy could leave the additional space redundant quicker than one could say ‘I’d like to apply for planning permission’. That leaves adapting what you have. Although this process will take resource in terms of time, is always a productive exercise, even if the space freed up is filled or stands empty.

There is a vast choice in terms of storage, materials handling equipment and software systems available to make warehousing as efficient, fast and lean as possible. Before choosing what is right for your business there is a bit of leg-work to do first in terms of assessing the current situation in your warehouse building.

Assessing the current situation in your warehouse building

Inventory – analyse your existing planning and forecasting system. Is there scope to improve it, make it more accurate and thereby reduce inventory levels? Is your forecasting method the right one for your business? Are there ways to make your inventory staff more efficient? Any reductions in inventory levels needs this level of assessment as arbitrary reductions could have negative implications on the whole supply chain and customer service.

Slotting systems – are your items placed in the best place in the warehouse in terms of maximum efficient use of space, health and safety, quick and accurate picking? Assessing the storage locations you have in the warehouse and the items being stored could highlight areas for improvement and ensure all available warehousing space in each location is used to its full potential.

Physical layout – assess how the current layout works and how it might be improved taking into account inbound, outbound, peaks, volumes and flow through. Can it be improved and how? Although expensive would a mezzanine floor be worth considering? Can aisle widths be reduced, racking height increased or space allocated to block stock pallets?

Still not enough warehousing space?

There are other analysis to make and options to consider, but if after all that you are still short on warehousing space then you could consider investing short-term in additional space, either on-site or off-site. This still avoids the heavy investment associated with more permanent warehouse buildings but provides instant additional space.

The options of additional warehousing space outside your own warehouse building

You could consider leasing warehousing space off-site but this might make operations less efficient, lead times slower and impact on transport costs. Alternatively you could have a temporary warehouse building installed on site short-term to see if this option works for you. This kind of building could be linked to existing facilities and installed without needing any kind of ground-works laying if there is level ground available. If it does not prove of value then it can be easily dismantled and returned to the supplier.

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